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EU lowers CO2 emissions limits for vans

The CO2 emission standard for new light commercial vehicles sold in the European Union is being cut to achieve climate targets under draft legislation approved by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee on Tuesday.

Today the limit stands at 203 grams per kilometre (g/km) of CO2. If the legislation is carried out, the CO2 emission limit will fall to 175 g/km after 2017, and then three years later will drop again to 147 g/km by 2020. The text of the legislation, already informally agreed with EU ministers, paves the way for achieving further CO2 reductions after 2020, and provides for the introduction of a new test protocol.

The 147 g/km by 2020 target represents maximum average emissions from vans of up to 2.61 tonnes without any load and 3.5 tonnes laden.

By 2020, manufacturers will have to produce enough cleaner models to achieve an overall balance of 147 g/km with their older, heavier or more polluting vehicles, or penalties will apply.

“The target for vans of 147g CO2/km is very ambitious, with independent research showing that it will necessitate full hybrid technologies,” said the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

Given the current economic climate with plummeting van sales, “it is difficult to invest extra cash upfront in more costly technologies for the future,” the ACEA said.

Lower production volumes of vans do not allow the economies of scale that are possible for cars. Furthermore, says the ACEA, because there are three very different classes of vans, there are few one-size-fits-all technological solutions.

According to the European Environment Agency only one percent of vans sold last year were liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas, and just 0.5% were electric.


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Current Issue October 2013